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Our Experience with Legal Malpractice Litigation

The legal malpractice attorneys at Ogborn Mihm LLP are among the most experienced in the western United States at handling complex, hard-fought attorney professional liability cases. U.S. News & World Report-Best Law Firms ranks Ogborn Mihm, LLP as a Tier 1 Firm in the field of Legal Malpractice - Plaintiff. Michael Mihm heads our plaintiff legal malpractice group, which includes Mike Ogborn, Elizabeth “Betsy” Hyatt, Thomas Neville, Anna Martinez, Clayton Wire and Nicole Quintana. The following is a sample of the lawyers' professional liability cases handled by our lawyers:

One of the Largest Legal Malpractice Jury Verdicts in The U.S. (For the Plaintiff)

In June 2013, a trial team headed by Michael Mihm and Mike Ogborn, and including Betsy Hyatt and Anna Martinez, obtained one of the largest legal malpractice jury verdicts in recent U.S. history against one the nation’s largest law firms. After the Utah office of a large national law firm mishandled a client’s subdivision application for an 8,600-acre ranch near Park City, Utah, causing the client to lose 40% of its valuable density rights, the client retained Michael Mihm to pursue a legal malpractice claim and recover its losses. The jury awarded all of the $21.36 million that our team requested at trial, but assessed 40% comparative fault against the client, thus reducing the award to $12.8 million. The trial court recently awarded an additional $1.46 million for prejudgment interest. 910 Cattle Company v. Stoel Rives, LLP, Case No. Civil No. 100907407, Third District Court, Salt Lake County, Utah

Negligent Handling of Underlying Construction Defect Liability (For the Plaintiff).

When a national homebuilder lost millions of dollars because of the negligence of its law firm in a handling a construct defect case, the homebuilder hired Michael Mihm to pursue the legal malpractice claims against the law firm. Michael investigated the claims, and negotiated a confidential policy-limits settlement with the law firm’s professional liability insurer without filing suit.

One of the Largest Plaintiff Jury Verdicts in Western Colorado / Negligent Handling of a Medical Negligence Case (For the Plaintiff).

In May 2010, Betsy Hyatt and her former law partner, (the Hon. Elizabeth Starrs, won the largest plaintiff verdict then in memory in Montrose County Colorado, and one of the largest in western Colorado, in a legal malpractice case against a Chicago personal injury lawyer. When a client had part of his leg amputated because of his podiatrist’s malpractice, the client hired the Chicago lawyer to handle the podiatric malpractice case. The lawyer mishandled the case, and the client was forced to accept a settlement with the podiatrist of far less than what the case was worth. The client hired Betsy Hyatt and now-Judge Starrs to pursue the legal malpractice case. After an eight-day trial, the jury found the lawyer negligent and liable for breach of the contingency fee contract, and awarded Betsy’s client $1.15 million in damages. The case settled shortly afterwards. Will v. McKenna, Case No. 2008CV0192, District Court, Montrose County, Colorado.

Negligent Representation in Sale of a Gold Mine (For the Plaintiff).

When a law firm mishandled a company’s purchase of one of Colorado’s richest hard rock gold mines, with several hundred million dollars of proven reserves, causing the client company to lose ownership of the mine, the company hired Michael Mihm to pursue the legal malpractice case against the law firm. Michael investigated the case, filed suit, and shortly thereafter negotiated a substantial confidential settlement with the law firm’s professional liability insurer.

Negligent Handling of a Corporate Squeeze Out/Intellectual Property Lawsuit (For the Plaintiff).

When a lawyer mishandled a lawsuit in which our clients alleged that they had been “squeezed out” of a successful web-based business and that the defendant had stolen the company’s intellectual property and database and had formed another business conducting the same activities under a new name, the clients hired Michael Mihm to sue the lawyer who had mishandled the case. Michael filed suit, and negotiated a confidential settlement with the defendant lawyer’s professional liability insurer prior to trial. District Court, Jefferson County, Colorado.

Securities Fraud (For the Plaintiffs).

At the request of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. District for the Southern District of Florida appointed a Receiver for an electric power company and several securities “boiler rooms” marketing the power company’s unregistered securities to unsuspecting investors. During her investigation of the company’s illegal conduct, the Receiver discovered that company’s lawyers had written clearly erroneous legal opinions claiming that the unregistered securities were not securities and thus not required to be registered. The Receiver then hired Michael Mihm and Elizabeth Hyatt to pursue a legal malpractice case against the lawyers. Michael and Betsy prosecuted a legal malpractice and securities fraud lawsuit against the defendant lawyers and law firms who authored the erroneous legal opinions. Michael negotiated a substantial confidential settlement with one group of defendants before trial. After a 15-day jury trial against the remaining defendant lawyer, the jury found there was no proximate cause between the lawyer's actions and the investors' losses. District Court, City and County of Denver, Colorado.

Negligent Advice About Business Opportunities (For the Plaintiffs).

When a former business partner sued the owners of a start-up energy conservation company, claiming that owners had misappropriated his business opportunities, the owners hired Michael Mihm to defend them. Michael also pursed a legal malpractice case against the lawyer who had improperly advised the owners that they could appropriate the business opportunity. Michael negotiated a confidential settlement that allowed his clients to resolve the claims against them with funds from the defendant lawyer’s professional liability insurance company. District Court, Jefferson County, Colorado.

Aiding and Abetting a Breach of Fiduciary Duty - Oppression of Minority Shareholders (For the Defense).

When a minority owner of a technology company sued one of Colorado's leading business law firms alleging that the defendant law firm had aided and abetted the majority owners in squeezing him out of the company, the law firm retained Michael Mihm and Elizabeth Hyatt to defend it at trial. After a 9-day jury trial, the jury found in favor of Michael and Betsy’s client law firm. District Court, City and County of Denver, Colorado.

Elder Abuse and Fraud (For the Plaintiff).

When the Personal Representative of a Colorado estate sought to recover millions of dollars misappropriated from an elderly woman by her son and daughter-in-law with the assistance of a Rhode Island lawyer and a Florida lawyer, the Personal Representative hired Michael Mihm and Elizabeth Hyatt to pursue the son and daughter-in-law for fraud and the defendant lawyers for legal malpractice. Michael and Betsy filed suit in the U.S. District Court in West Palm Beach, Florida. Michael and Betsy settled with one of the law firm defendants on the first day of trial. The trial court eventually granted summary judgment for the remaining defendants on an issue preclusion defense. The summary judgment was later upheld by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in an unpublished decision. United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Misappropriation of Client's Assets (For the Plaintiff).

When a woman became romantically involved with her lawyer, and the lawyer transferred all of the woman’s newly-inherited property to his name to be held in “trust,” the woman hired Michael Mihm and Elizabeth Hyatt to recover her property. Michael and Betsy sued the lawyer, and before trial negotiated a confidential settlement with the lawyer and his professional liability insurer. District Court, County of Montrose, Colorado.

Legal Malpractice Lawsuit Against a Judge (For the Plaintiff).

When a newly-appointed judge, preparing to leave the his practice for the bench, missed some key deadlines and failed to properly prepare a client’s personal injury case for trial, the client hired Michael Mihm to represent her in a legal malpractice lawsuit against the judge. Michael sued the judge in federal court, and settled the case before trial for $185,000. U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.

Breach of Fiduciary Duty (For The Defense).

When a prominent Aspen real estate developer and art dealer sued an Aspen, Colorado, real estate firm, alleging that the firm breached a fiduciary duty, the law firm hired Michael Mihm to defend it. After a three week-jury trial, the jury returned a verdict finding no proximate cause, but awarding very modest damages against Michael’s client law firm. Because of the inconsistent verdict, the Colorado Court of Appeals partially reversed the verdict. District Court, County of Pitkin, Colorado.

Real Estate and Land Use (For The Defense).

When a wealthy Hollywood producer and his wife sued a prominent Colorado real estate firm, claiming that the defendant law firm failed to inform them that their multi-million dollar Aspen home was in an avalanche zone, and the home was later damaged by an avalanche, the law firm hired Michael Mihm to represent it. After a two-week trial, the jury returned a verdict for Michael’s client law firm. District Court, County of Pitkin County, Colorado.

Illegal Tax Shelters (For The Defense).

When more than 180 investors in tax-shelter partnerships sued a Denver tax lawyer and his firm, alleging that the defendant lawyer had negligently authored a tax opinion that resulted in an IRS audit, causing the business to fail, the defendants hired Michael Mihm to represent them. The plaintiffs sought damages of $14 million. After a 3-week trial, the jury returned a verdict for Michael’s clients. District Court, City and County of Denver, Colorado.

Malicious Prosecution - Government Contracts (For The Defense).

When former defendants in a white-collar criminal action sued a Colorado Chief Deputy Attorney General, an Assistant Attorney General and a former Colorado governor for malicious prosecution in prosecuting the criminal action (arising out an illegal bid for a state government contract), the Office of the Colorado Attorney General hired Michael Mihm to represent the staff lawyers. The case was notable in that one of the fact witnesses was then a sitting Colorado Supreme Court justice and one of the expert witnesses was a former Colorado governor. After a two-week bench trial the court found for Michael’s clients. District Court, County of Adams, Colorado.

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